Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - As the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) prepares to start its national elective conference on Tuesday, the body has called for the rejection of plans by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola for private donors to fund the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

In July, Lamola said the department was in the process of securing private funding for the NPA as it was cash-strapped and needed more funds to train staff and address its efficiency challenges.

He said the money would be channelled through his department before it would be given to the NPA.

Popcru spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said the union was not in favour of this because it would tarnish the credibility of the prosecuting authority.

“The NPA is too important an institution to be at the mercy of individuals who might have vested interests, as this would mean that this law enforcement body would be indebted to private donors who are likely to be subjects of investigations at some point,” Mamabolo said.

He further pointed out that the union viewed the proposal by Lamola with suspicion as its agenda was questionable.

“We should never agree to private donations under the guise of saving our institutions while coming with strings attached that would redirect the purpose and objectives of the NPA,” he said.

Popcru’s ninth congress will be held from Tuesday until November 9 in Durban, where the union will elect new leadership and adopt policies.

Around 1200 delegates are expected to converge on Chief Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre for the five-day conference.

On the union’s agenda will also be discussions over the strategies that should be adopted on how best to fight the government’s plan to slash the SAPS budget in the next three years, which the union said would result in 23 000 jobs being lost.

“This appalling announcement comes at a time when the majority of South Africans feel increasingly unsafe in their communities due to the escalating levels of violence and crime. It also comes at a time when there’s a huge need to strengthen the entire criminal justice cluster which has for the longest of times been repurposed from its core mandate through infightings,” Mamabolo said.

He maintained the move also undermined the commitment President Cyril Ramaphosa made to halve the country’s high crime rate.

“Currently the SAPS has approximately 191 000 employees, a number which would drop to 167 000 by 2022/23. This drop would definitely be a disaster,” he said.

Mamabolo indicated that leaders of the ANC-led alliance and other senior state officials were expected to address the conference. “As it takes place over the course of this week, we will be expecting principals from the departments we organise in to address members on specific strategic issues of concern, and the direction the various departments are considering,” he said.

Political Bureau